This past Saturday at approximately 10:30 p.m., after leaving a political dinner, the South Dakota Attorney General called police to report he had hit a deer with his vehicle. The next day, police discovered that he had not, in fact, hit a deer but instead a pedestrian who was walking to his disabled truck. The pedestrian died. Right now, more questions remain unanswered than answered, but one thing is for certain: pedestrian accidents are on the rise, and here are some simple but effective ways we can help prevent them.
- Do not drive distracted. Of course, these days we all associate distracted driving with cell phones but they are not the only distraction in a vehicle. Eating while driving is a distraction. Manipulating the navigation system is a distraction. Sometimes, other passengers can be a distraction. For example, trying to do things for children in the back seat or arguing with someone in the car can divert precious attention away from what is happening on the road.
- Slow down. News outlets are reporting the South Dakota Attorney General has six speeding tickets over the past six years. Of course, we do not know if he was speeding when he hit the pedestrian as there were no witnesses, but that is a lot of speeding tickets during that time period.
- Do not drive when you have had too much to drink or you are impaired by drugs – either over-the-counter, prescription or illicit.
- Right now, lots of children in Middle Tennessee are either attending a hybrid school model (they are at home every other day) or they are doing school entirely from home. As such, children can be outside during all hours of the day. In fact, as part of their P.E. requirements, many gym teachers are asking students to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day. Children are not as predictable, so drivers need to be especially vigilant in residential areas where children could be outside.
- School buses are running again. The rules are different depending upon the type of roadway you are on. If you are not positive you know what to do, refresh your memory here. And, of course, when in doubt, stop. Again, children can be impulsive and might dart back to retrieve a forgotten item on the bus, etc. Make sure the child is completely out of the roadway before proceeding.
- Intersections are especially dangerous. We feel extremely fortunate to have sidewalks in our neighborhood, but a neighbor crossing the street at the intersection was still hit by an inattentive driver. Do not roll through stop signs, stay alert and be on the lookout for pedestrians.
- Keep your vehicle in good repair so that brakes and lights are working properly.
- Take the weather and time of day into account. Wet roads increase stopping distances. Darkness decreases visibility, etc.
- This should go without saying, but if you hit something: stop and then get out and investigate. To date, there is no indication the South Dakota Attorney General stopped or got out of his car to investigate, and the pedestrian was not found for over 20 hours. At this point, it is not known whether his injuries were survivable if he had received medical attention.
- If a car stops in front of you, be careful passing them especially in pedestrian areas and around crosswalks. They may have stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the road.
With the weather cooling off and the pandemic still ongoing, many people continue to get their exercise outside rather than at a gym, so please be cautious while driving. And, if you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, give us a call. Our award-winning lawyers have tremendous experience in pedestrian accidents and we handle those cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. Give us a call at any time at one of the numbers below. And, as always, we will gladly come to you (wearing a mask) if for any reason you cannot come to us.